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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Blessed are the poor and meek

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.

I never really understood these beatitudes, for I always inflicted my own definition upon the terms used. "Poor" must mean "financially bereft", and "Meek" must mean...uh...well, turning the other cheek.

But as I've been studying theology in earnest, and as I've come across several speakers to discuss this very thing, I think I have a better, more complete understanding now.

"Poor in spirit" has nothing to do with depression or finances; rather, it speaks of true humility. What Jesus was saying was that those who recognize that they are dust, that all they have and all they know is from God and of God, are getting the point of their existance. None of us can claim control; control is an illusion, for all that we think belongs to us is only a gift from God for our usage and stewardship. We HAVE to be poor in spirit to recognize that and apply this poverty to all that we have been given, relizing that it was given for a purpose and we must use it to further the Kingdom of God.

"Blessed are the meek" ~ this one is a little more difficult. What does it mean to be "meek"? I would suggest a change in terms: "docile". Docile to God's will, willing to go where lead by God, willing to accept life on God's terms, not upon our own false sense of control over our situation.

Yes, we have to make choices, daily, and yes, we have free will. God will never contradict our free will, and this is the reason for the Beatitudes; he is explaining to us how to reach our ultimate goal, to be fully realized as human beings in cooperation with God's will. It is when we decide that we are in control that we lose our poverty of spirit and our meekness, wherin there lies the true power given to us by God.

God has a plan for each and every life on earth. Every one, down to the embryo created in a petrie dish. Each life is blessed with a plan and a purpose, and as we come into our own cognition, we find we have the opportunity to say "yes" or "no" to God. Daily.

I am working hard at being poor and meek, and the harder I work at this, the more I realize that while I give these virtues lip service, I do not live them out. I am impatient, I am a complainer, and I am fighting hard to maintain what I think is "control". But I never had control. Ever. God always did, and he has allowed me to live out my fantasy of control and he has allowed me to live out the consequences of that.

It is never too late to give the reins back over to God, fully.

The Simpsons's has a sequence in their introduction showing Maggie at the wheel of the car; it's just a child-sized steering wheel she holds while Marge really does the driving.

That's us, folks. We're all sitting there with a false steering wheel, honking our horns, twisting the wheel, and pretending we are directing the car that carries us along.

What an illusion. What a complete illusion.

Yes, God will let us drive if we really insist....and when we crash into the nearest telephone pole, he'll still be there to bandage our wounds and kiss away our tears. He'll do that as long as we insist we are in control, because he will not impose his will upon us...we have to be willing to invite Him.

That is true poverty. That is true humility. That is what it means to be meek.


Anonymous said...

God speaks to us in many different ways and today He spoke to me through you.

Thank you God and thank you Adoro!

Deacon Bill Burns said...

Great post. Fr. Corapi also talks about spiritual poverty as a detachment from the things of this world. Both are good ways to conceptualize it.

Banshee said...

But don't forget the French translation: blessed are the "debonair"! There's something generous and adventurous about this meekness thing.

Adoro said...

Theocoid ~ Oh, I remember that! I wish I'd thought of it while writing this post, could have added something about detachment.

I love Father Corapi!

Blessed are the Debonair?! How does it go? "Blessed are the debonair...they shall wear Prada."


Adoro said...

kim ~ Just thank God. If I write anything useful to someone, it comes straight from Him...all I am is a translator. :-)